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Using a Vibrating Toothbrush For Speech Therapy

Children with sensory needs often struggle with feeding, speech and oral motor skills. A vibrating toothbrush can be used to stimulate the mouth and increase oral focus.

Children suffering from oral hypersensitivity or defensiveness will benefit from using the Z-Vibe, as its gentle vibration can gradually lessen sensitivity to touch sensations in their mouth over time, as well as improve many speech and feeding skills.

Oral Motor Stimulation

Oral motor therapy has made quite an impressionful debut in speech-language pathology circles. It employs various approaches that address both motor and sensory aspects of speech production, with many approaches relying on the theory that controlled, strong movements of jaws, lips, cheeks, tongue, pharynx and neck are necessary for accurate speech production.

Furthermore, these movements play a pivotal role in swallowing. Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Down’s Syndrome or Global Developmental Delays often have weak oral muscles which contribute to communication and feeding difficulties.

These techniques include various exercises designed to increase awareness, strength, movement and coordination in the mouth. These include tongue wagging, chewing and various vibration exercises such as vibrating toys or chewing tools as well as mouth shaping devices or devices like toothbrushes that use vibration therapy.

Most oral motor treatment techniques have not been thoroughly scientifically investigated; most studies conducted have been of such low-quality that they cannot support their use. Furthermore, most methods don’t build strength necessary for speech production (which has minimal strength requirements). Instead they usually build it against resistance until failure, much like how muscle strength is increased through resistance training in gym.

As evidence, this highlights why more research on this subject should be undertaken; doing so would allow clinicians to provide more effective speech and feeding treatments to their clients.

It is evident that we must move away from using oral motor treatments that superficially appear like speech-like movements but have no known effect on changing speech productions. Clinicians must exercise great care when making claims about these procedures.

At present, there is growing evidence to show that other stimulation approaches may be more promising. These techniques utilize electrical, magnetic and thermal stimulation techniques to target various brain regions and change behaviors; peripheral and central neuromodulation (e.g. tDCS and rTMS) can also reduce spasticity in bulbar muscle fibers by stimulating specific points; they have even shown potential for improving chewing and swallowing outcomes in those suffering from neurogenic dysphagia.

Tactile Cues

Tactile cues or tactile prompts are physical reminders used on a person’s body to remind them what sounds they need to produce. Tactile prompts can range from something as simple as using a sticky note on their hand to running your hand down their arm as a child demonstrates how they should move their body for producing certain sounds. They can also be combined with visual, verbal or AAC systems for multisensory communication systems.

Study participants in an experiment designed to assess the effect of adding speech-related tactile information to vibrotactile stimulation were shown two sentences with and without matching vibrations, with those who received matching vibrations performing better than those who didn’t, although not to the same degree as seen with those trained solely on hearing matching audio inputs (this group had lower scores during initial test conditions).

While researchers believe training in controlled selective attention helped reduce the distracting effects of non-matching vibrations, adding speech-related tactile information may have made perceiving these stimuli more challenging for certain individuals. Furthermore, participants who did not receive matching vibrations may already possess this kind of knowledge which explains why their post-training scores were significantly higher than that of other groups.

Whatever the motivation may be, the outcome is evident: adding speech-related tactile information can increase audio quality and benefit of auditory stimuli, suggesting that adding sensory stimuli may be an effective treatment tool to improve both audibility and comprehension of one’s own speech.

Consonant and Vowel Tactile and Visual Cues- This product provides visual and tactile cues for all consonant sounds and 5 vowel vowels, providing a multisensory approach to treating articulation disorders and apraxia. It makes an excellent complement to Bjorem sound cards or other targets of treatment for treating these conditions.


Systematic desensitization can be an invaluable asset for those experiencing social anxiety or public speaking fears, using classical conditioning or associative learning principles, to overcome them. Sessions will consist of clients creating an inventory of fears they face along with relaxation techniques or coping methods they can employ when encountering certain situations; once more comfortable they will move onto another one until all fears have been addressed.

Example: Imagine that a college student named Nancy struggles with anxiety about talking to strangers in class and other settings. At the mere thought of speaking up in class, her stomach turns over and her heart pounds furiously; as soon as her mind wanders to speaking aloud in public places such as her dorm room or anywhere else, the anxiety kicks in. In order to address her anxiety about speaking publicly in such circumstances, Nancy and her therapist might identify which situations trigger it, imagine conversations, practice deep breathing techniques before finally greeting people face-on for real. Over time this would help Nancy become more comfortable speaking in class or other environments where appropriate.

Desensitization therapy has many advantages; however, some researchers have cast doubt upon its efficacy when applied to phobias and stuttering. Speech-anxious individuals who received desensitization therapy reported significant decreases in their anxiety toward speaking situations following treatment with desensitization therapy.

Desensitization success also depends on the stimuli used to elicit an arousal response. One study involved showing participants violent and funny film clips while monitoring skin conductance level (SCL) and rating enjoyment; this led to a curve-shaped pattern of enjoyment with participants reporting greater enjoyment during later scenes.

Studies have also demonstrated the efficacy of desensitization methods in decreasing negative behaviors like avoidance and body stiffness, making desensitization an integral component of speech-language pathologist treatments plans.

Gum Massage

Gum health is of utmost importance, and daily gum massage can aid with its maintenance. A regular gum massage removes debris that could contribute to gum disease while improving blood circulation – also helping with plaque removal which leads to gum recession. Gum massage is simple to incorporate into an oral hygiene regimen: simply use your index finger, apply some pressure and rub along the gumline until all gum tissue has been massaged along its line – best done before brushing and flossing and after adding oil (sesame, olive or coconut) for smoother glide. Note: avoid placing your bare fingers inside your mouth as this could create build ups of germs which could potentially contribute to gum disease!

A gum stimulator is another tool used for massaging gums. Configured as long, thin metal or plastic arms with cone-shaped rubber or silicone tips designed to stimulate and increase blood flow, these tools can be found both locally at pharmacies as well as online. While many find them effective, some find them irritating or even painful.

An oral stimulator can be especially helpful to those wearing braces as it reaches areas that toothbrushes cannot. A gum stimulator is also an effective way to dislodge food debris from between braces and can reduce pain associated with wearing them while simultaneously improving gum health.

Additionally to flossing and brushing, daily gum massage can also prove helpful to those living with dental implants or periodontal disease. Furthermore, gum massage may help alleviate discomfort caused by sore or irritated teeth by breaking up tissue or bacteria that is causing discomfort.

Use of a Z-Vibe with either soft or hard brush tips for additional gum and teeth care can reduce chewing needs and facilitate transition to traditional toothbrushes for some children who may seek sensory input through chewing habits. Incorporating oral input can also provide extra soothing sensations during everyday activities and can decrease chewing during daily tasks.